Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive federal financial assistance.
Title IX states that:
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
The United States Department of Education maintains an Office for Civil Rights, with 12 enforcement offices throughout the nation and a headquarters office in Washington, D.C., to enforce Title IX.
Education Programs and Activities Covered by Title IX
Title IX covers state and local agencies that receive U.S. Department of Education funds. These agencies include approximately 16,000 local school districts, 3,200 colleges and universities, and 5,000 for-profit schools as well as libraries and museums. Also included are vocational rehabilitation agencies and education agencies of 50 states, the District of Columbia, and territories and possessions of the United States.
Programs and activities that receive federal funds must operate in a nondiscriminatory manner, according to the U.S. Department of Education. These programs and activities may include, but are not limited to: admissions, recruitment, financial aid, academic programs, student treatment and services, counseling and guidance, discipline, classroom assignment, grading, vocational education, recreation, physical education, athletics, housing and employment. Also, a recipient may not retaliate against any person because he or she opposed an unlawful educational practice or policy, or made charges, testified or participated in any complaint action under Title IX.
The Office for Civil Rights Enforces Title IX
The Office for Civil Rights is responsible for enforcing Title IX. The principal enforcement activity is the investigation and resolution of complaints filed by people alleging sex discrimination. Also, through agency-initiated reviews of selected recipients, OCR is able to identify and remedy sex discrimination which may not be addressed through complaint investigations.
Given the large number of institutions under its jurisdiction, OCR is unable to investigate and review the policies and practices of all institutions receiving federal financial assistance. Therefore, OCR provides information and guidance to schools, universities and other agencies to assist them in voluntarily complying with the law. OCR also informs students and their parents, and those who apply for admission to academic programs, of their rights under Title IX.